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Utah changes requirements for coyote bounty program

Utah coyote bounty changes

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Utah recently announced changes to its coyote bounty program. The changes are a result of multiple fraudulent kills that concluded in thousands of dollars in payouts for coyote kills that did not occur in the state. While misleading authorities with deceptive kills is one issue—including one couple who turned in 237 coyote scalps and collected $50 per scalp, according to The Salt Lake Tribune—the other major concern is that false coyote kill tallies undermine the point of the program: to keep tabs on the number of coyotes within the state and to determine if the bounty program is actually working.

Starting in July, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) “will no longer accept scalps covered in maggots; taken from a coyote killed by someone else, including roadkills; and that are more than a year old, or are so decomposed or damaged that officials cannot confirm it came from a coyote,” The Salt Lake Tribune reports. Bounty hunters must turn in a scalp complete with the ears still attached and a full lower jaw to collect their reward.

Due to increased mule deer fawn predation, the coyote bounty program began in 2012 in an effort to boost mule deer populations. Since then, thousands of coyote scalps have been turned in. Last year’s turn-in totaled a record 11,505 scalps, which meant that UDWR had to pay out more than the $500,000 put aside by state legislature for the program.

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“We have consistently had more coyotes turned in every year and with that there is a potential to exhaust our entire budget and if that happens we [would] have to halt the program until there is more money to spend,” UDWR Predator Control Program Manager Xaela Walden told The Salt Lake Tribune.

If record turn-ins continue, Walden says that the bounty payments will be decreased by $5 for the next year.

Another new requirement is providing UDWR with accurate GPS locations of where the coyote kill happened. To do this, according to The Salt Lake Tribune, bounty hunters will have to carry smartphones with a special app; hunters will be required to “take a picture, enter the mode of execution and its gender, and press ‘upload’” so the app then “relays a geocoded image” to UDWR’s database. The technological requirement could be a barrier to hunters who may not be tech-savvy or others who may not want to give up their honey holes; however, many hunters support the changes to the program to ensure that the bounty program isn’t exploited.

“Killing coyotes is controversial,” Miles Moretti of the Mule Deer Foundation told the Utah Wildlife Board. “We definitely need to eliminate the fraud and abuse in the program because that gives all of us a black eye.”

4 Comments

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Erik S. - posted 4 months ago on 07-02-2018 04:23:43 pm
goHUNT INSIDER

I dont understand how people still don't realize you'll never put a dent in the coyote population, they are in every single state now thanks to efforts of eradication since Europeans arrived through 2018. You kill one, 5 more show up... with that said I have no credentials to be making this statement, just anecdotal evidence and reading different theories as to how coyotes have done so well despite human efforts to kill off.

Nicholas K. - posted 4 months ago on 07-02-2018 02:21:57 pm
goHUNT INSIDER

Up in Alberta several years ago they had a bounty program on wolves. They would let you keep it, seeing how many people would want to mount it. They had to start cutting out the tounge because people were just taking the same one to different check points. I understand the concept of the program with the coyote too, but the more you pay out in bounty the more likely you will see an increase in license fees. You should want to kill them regardless of a bounty or not.

Dallas B. - posted 4 months ago on 07-02-2018 01:06:34 pm
goHUNT INSIDER

And you didn't know you would have fraud in the original program?

Isaac R. - posted 4 months ago on 07-02-2018 11:08:56 am
goHUNT INSIDER

I like the idea of the app to keep the rip offs honest, Here in New Mexico I just hunt them for a sport and to help fawns and calves we don’t have a bounty on them.